Prevalence of occupation-related pain among baristas and an examination of low back and shoulder demand during the preparation of espresso-based beverages

Ergonomics. 2014;57(8):1192-200. doi: 10.1080/00140139.2014.914582. Epub 2014 May 19.


Many baristas complain of low back pain (LBP) and upper extremity discomfort while at work. This study documented the prevalence of LBP and shoulder pain, via questionnaire, among a population of baristas to determine whether cumulative low back loads and shoulder moments are associated with pain reporting. Fifty-nine baristas completed the questionnaire; ten were also video-recorded for biomechanical analysis while making espresso beverages and cumulative and peak low back loads and shoulder moments were calculated. Seventy-three percent of those who completed the questionnaire reported having experienced LBP, and half attributed this pain to their job as a barista. Furthermore, 68% reported having experienced shoulder pain and half also attributed this pain to their job. Those who suffered from LBP had higher peak low back compression and those with shoulder pain had, in general, higher moments about their dominant shoulder.

Keywords: coffee-making; cumulative loading; ergonomics; posture.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Coffee
  • Female
  • Food Handling*
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / epidemiology*
  • Lumbosacral Region
  • Male
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Restaurants*
  • Shoulder Joint / physiology*
  • Shoulder Pain / epidemiology*
  • Young Adult


  • Coffee